Andy “Fletch” Fletcher, co-founder and keyboardist of pioneering British new wave band Depeche Mode, has died at age 60. Fletcher’s bandmates announced the shocking news Thursday afternoon on social media; according to a source close to the band, the musician died of natural causes. No other details were given at press time.
“We are shocked and filled with overwhelming sadness with the untimely passing of our dear friend, family member, and bandmate Andy ‘Fletch’ Fletcher,” Depeche Mode announced in their statement. “Fletch had a true heart of gold and was always there when you needed support, a lively conversation, a good laugh, or a cold pint. Our hearts are with his family, and we ask that you keep them in your thoughts and respect their privacy in this difficult time.”
Andrew John Leonard Fletcher was born July 8, 1961, in Nottingham, England, and at age 2 he moved to Basildon, Essex. There, he met Vince Clarke via the local Christian youth organization Boys' Brigade, and in the late ‘70s he and Clarke formed the pre-Depeche band No Romance in China, in which Fletcher played bass.
In 1980, Fletcher met future Depeche bandmate Martin Gore at a local pub; Gore then joined Fletcher and Clarke in the all-synthesizer trio Composition of Sound. Upon the recruitment of lead singer Dave Gahan, Composition of Sound evolved into Depeche Mode, who released their seminal debut album Speak & Spell a year later.
After Clarke left Depeche Mode to form Yazoo (and, later on, Erasure), Fletcher, Gore, and Gahan continued on with Alan Wilder, who played with the band from 1982 to 1995. Fletcher was a core member of Depeche Mode, whose most recent studio album was 2017’s politically changed Spirit, for more than 40 years, up until his death.
Over the course of their career, Depeche sold more than 100 million records worldwide, charted 54 singles and 17 top 10 albums in the U.K., influenced countless electronic acts, and were the only band to ever sell out four consecutive nights at the famed Hollywood Bowl.
Depeche Mode were inducted by longtime superfan Charlize Theron into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame’s Class of 2020, in a ceremony that was held virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fletcher’s appearance, with his jocular attitude and clear camaraderie with Gahan and Gore, was a highlight of the HBO broadcast.
In addition to his work in Depeche Mode, Fletcher had his own record label, Toast Hawaii (an imprint of Depeche’s label, Mute Records), and a side career as a DJ. He is survived by his wife of 29 years, Gráinne Mullan, and their two children, Megan and Joe.
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